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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
COGAT: Ceremonies at Qasr El Yahud (Where Jesus baptized by John the Baptist)

COGAT: Ceremonies at Qasr El Yahud

Jerusalem, 16 January 16, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE COORDINATOR OF GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES IN TERRITORIES

For the second time since the official re-opening; ceremonies at the baptism
site

The Spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in Territories
announced that on Friday, 18 January, the annual major ceremony of the
Christian communities will be held at Qaser El Yahud.

The ceremonies will be attended by the heads of the Greek-Orthodox,
Ethiopian, Syriac and Coptic communities. The main ceremony will begin at
10:30 AM, with the arrival of the Greek patriarch for prayers in the St.
John monastery. It should be noted that on the following day, Saturday 19th,
the Syriac ceremony will take place at 9:00 AM, the Coptic ceremony at 11:00
AM and the Ethiopian ceremony at 12:30 AM. The Armenian ceremony will be on
Sunday 27th of January.

The baptism site is the third of its significance and sacredness in the
Christian world, and according to the belief, it is the exact place where
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This act symbolizes the spiritual
birth of Jesus.

During the last few years, approximately $15 million was invested by Israelís
Civil Administration, the Israel Nature and Park Authority, the Ministry of
Tourism, the Regional Development Ministry and the IDF in order to renovate
and upgrade the site.

As part of the process, mines were evacuated, the access roads to the site
were widened, and parking lots were built. A deck was also built with
security beams in order to enable immersion at the water line.

In July 2011, the site was officially re-opened for pilgrims with no prior
coordination required. Following this, an increase of 240% of visitors was
recorded between 2011 and 2012, while in 2012, 313,000 pilgrims visited the
site.

Some clarifications for your convenience:

Because of the expected arrival of tens of thousands of people to the site,
the entry of vehicles won't be allowed. Those arriving in private vehicles
will park at the upper gate, and will be assisted with organized
transportation in order to go down to the site.

At the entrance, GPO card holders will be given a card, which will allow
them to enter a special media zone. During the Greek Patriarch' arrival,
only few camera men will be allowed to come down, according to a pool
pre-coordinated with the FPA, and following the request of the Patriarch and
the rising of the water line, which reduced the possible gathering zone.

The rest of media will be directed to a suitable area from which they could
watch and cover the ceremony.

In order to coordinate the entrance of reporters to an organized media zone,
please send us their details:
cogatspokesman@gmail.com.

Further on, representatives of the spokespersons' offices both from COGAT
and the Ministry of Defense will assist journalists with information and
officials will be able to give interviews.

Representatives will also provide you with access cards at the entrance gate
and in the information center by the water line (close to the buffet).

For further information, please contact:
COGAT spokesperson office: 03-6977611

For more details during the ceremony day:
The Spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in
Territories, Major Guy Inbar: 050-6234053
Daniella Levin: 054-3004893
Ilana Naveh: 052-3872300

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